Interview with Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury

Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury
Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury
Baraka Group
Baraka Group

Woven contributed $17.24 bn to Bangladesh's total RMG export
Baraka Fashions Limited is a readymade garments manufacturer having a 10-line (woven tops) production capacity situated at Gazipur, Bangladesh. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury, Chairman, Baraka Group, discusses the share of woven sector in Bangladesh's RMG exports and its competitiveness with respect to the global market.

How much is Ready Made Garments (RMG) contributing to total exports of Bangladesh?

RMG contributed 84.21 per cent of total exports of Bangladesh for FY 2018-19.

Within RMG, the growth of woven sector is not significant compared to knit and other segments. Export growth of woven sector has decreased from 12.81 per cent (FY 2015-16) to 11.74 per cent (FY 2018-19). Woven fabric is mostly sourced from overseas and local sourcing is not up to the mark as per requirement.

How much is the woven segment contributing to the country's overall RMG export earnings?

In US dollar terms, the woven segment has steadily grown from $13.06 billion in FY2015 to $17.24 billion in FY2019, of the country's total RMG export earnings.

What is the current company size of Baraka Fashions Ltd in terms of people and manufacturing units?

Baraka Fashions Ltd has 1200 direct employees. We have only 1 manufacturing unit.

What is your flagship product? What is the product mix under your brand?

Our flagship products are shirts and pants (any types of top and bottom products)

Where do you source your raw materials from?

We source our raw materials mainly from our local markets. We also source from China and Korea.

Has the increased purchasing power of the people of Bangladesh led to any significant effect on your price points?

Yes, our labour costs have increased significantly.

What latest technologies and innovations are you investing in?

We have introduced Modular Production System (Modular Line) and have different advanced machineries.

How competitive is the woven sector in Bangladesh with respect to the global market? What are its strengths?

The percentage of fabric waste for woven garment making is less than knitted garments. There are advantages of adding value to woven garments mostly in denim products. It is possible to make profits by adding different washing techniques, dry processes, print techniques etc, which are not possible in knitted garments. Woven garment makers are now encouraged to produce this type of value-added products to attract more customers and generate more orders. Considering this prospect, we can say that Bangladesh can perform a key role in the global market.

Going ahead, what would be the major boosters for the woven sector of Bangladesh?

Apart from regular basic styling, value-added products can create demand in the market and thus create a new area of interest for foreign customers.

What are the 3 key government policies that will help units like yours achieve size and scale?

The government should:
  1. Reduce the dollar price
  2. Increase incentives to manufacturers
  3. Local new industry should provide tax holidays

What are the challenges that you face despite government support to the industry?

Most of the backward linkage depends on China and other countries.

With so much sensitivity around sustainability around the world, and post Rana Plaza, what is the trend among apparel manufacturers in going the sustainable way?

The scenario of RMG sector has totally changed after Rana Plaza collapse. Customers are now much more concerned about the safety and security as well as interested to procure sustainable and environmentally friendly products. In other words, customers are now more sensible then before. If we can create an image and facility of producing sustainable products, we may enhance the possibility of bigger growth of the RMG sector as well as woven products.

Are you catering to the domestic market or entirely into exports? Which countries and brands are you exporting to?

Currently we don't have any concern in domestic market. The brands for whom we are working are: 
  • Next - UK
  • Gloria jeans
  • Peacocks - UK
  • Ballin - canada
  • Doppelganger - Italy
  • Incorporate wear - UK
  • Adler - Germany
  • Minoya - Japan
  • Guatai - Japan
  • Hellenic - Sweden
  • Gloria jens - Russia
  • Kocell - Korea

What are your future plans?

We plan to make a 100 lined LEAD Platinum standard environment friendly woven composite factory in future. (PC)
Published on: 20/02/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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